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Pictures of SR-71 with red, PINK, and blue insignia?


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Hey everyone,

 

I just finished "Skunk Works" by Ben Rich, who led Skunk Works after the retirement of Kelly Johnson. At the end of the book there is a part where he talks about the difficulties the industry faces nowadays and he mentions the responsibility of the Air Force as well. One of his examples is this:

 

"Another frustrating example was the stubborn insistence of the Air Force to have its insignia painted on the wings and fuselage of the SR-71 Blackbird, even though no one would ever see it t eighty-five thousand feet; finding a way to keep the enamel from burning off under the enormous surfce temperatures and maintain its true red, white, and blue took our chief chemist, Mel George, weeks of experimentation and cost the government thousands of unnecessary dollars. After we succeeded, the Air Force decided that the white on the emblem against the all-black fuselage was too easy to spot from the ground, so we repainted it pink." (p. 327)

 

Does anyone have a picture of this red-pink-blue insignia on an SR-71?

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I read this book for the first time in 1994,read it at least another 5 times. Its the best book on designing aircraft, build to a spec that doesn't exist and invent it. I would have loved to work there.

The bit about selling Stealth to the Generals ,roughly speaking....How big will it be on the radar screen, size of an Eagle? Johnson rolled a Ball Bearing across the table...An Eagles eyeball !

I don't have the answer to your question though!

 

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I'm mid-way through this one myself at the moment.  Not got this far yet - they're just starting the project so far.

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You'll enjoy it. The brains they had in that place, the attitude that anything is possible, find out how and build it.

 

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Bzn20: Yeah, it's one of the best books I've ever read! It's not just full of very interesting stories about legendary airplanes and project management but it's also humorous and easy to read (I'm not native English and not an engineer either and even so I had no problems with it).

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On 12/8/2016 at 5:53 AM, PIPboy said:

"Another frustrating example was the stubborn insistence of the Air Force to have its insignia painted on the wings and fuselage of the SR-71 Blackbird, even though no one would ever see it t eighty-five thousand feet; finding a way to keep the enamel from burning off under the enormous surfce temperatures and maintain its true red, white, and blue took our chief chemist, Mel George, weeks of experimentation and cost the government thousands of unnecessary dollars. After we succeeded, the Air Force decided that the white on the emblem against the all-black fuselage was too easy to spot from the ground, so we repainted it pink." (p. 327)

When I was stationed at Beale (Dec 85 - Dec 87), the only flying SR that still had the full color markings was the trainer 956.  All of the other aircraft had only the serial number on the tail and stenciling in flat insignia red.  As for 956, the items that were supposed to be in white were most definitely in white.  One day they had the hangar doors open on one of the SR barns that was normally closed up.  Inside was 981, the one and only C model SR.  It also had full color markings with not a hint of pink.

Later,

Dave

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12 hours ago, e8n2 said:

When I was stationed at Beale (Dec 85 - Dec 87), the only flying SR that still had the full color markings was the trainer 956.  All of the other aircraft had only the serial number on the tail and stenciling in flat insignia red.  As for 956, the items that were supposed to be in white were most definitely in white.  One day they had the hangar doors open on one of the SR barns that was normally closed up.  Inside was 981, the one and only C model SR.  It also had full color markings with not a hint of pink.

Later,

Dave

 

I flew into LAX in  71 going south on BOAC Super VC10 'SGO, coast on the left, from Hawaii  . Three Blackbirds in formation flew below  us, unbelievable,  thought I'd seen things . "Dad 3 SR71s just went under us" " What ?where?" Under us, quite a way away . He missed it! He must have been steaming, they must have been out of Beale. I didn't know anything about Beale back then, never heard of it! Another of those glad I was there moments.

Edited by bzn20
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On ‎08‎/‎12‎/‎2016 at 4:11 PM, PIPboy said:

Bzn20: Yeah, it's one of the best books I've ever read! It's not just full of very interesting stories about legendary airplanes and project management but it's also humorous and easy to read (I'm not native English and not an engineer either and even so I had no problems with it).

 

Glad you said that. It wasn't "over engineered" and I reckon most people interested in the subject would understand what was what. Can't sell this book enough. I'll read it again soon, still amazes me what they did. 

More bits and bobs...

Guy with a Polaroid Camera took a photo of a F-117 and it was blurred. . They realised the Camera used a form of Radar to focus and as it was stealth ,couldn't see it properly.

Bats (not Baseball, proper flying mice) flew into  it in the Hangar, lying on the shed floor. Dead. Bat's Radar Knackered too !

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24 minutes ago, bzn20 said:

 

Glad you said that. It wasn't "over engineered" and I reckon most people interested in the subject would understand what was what. Can't sell this book enough. I'll read it again soon, still amazes me what they did. 

More bits and bobs...

Guy with a Polaroid Camera took a photo of a F-117 and it was blurred. . They realised the Camera used a form of Radar to focus and as it was stealth ,couldn't see it properly.

Bats (not Baseball, proper flying mice) flew into  it in the Hangar, lying on the shed floor. Dead. Bat's Radar Knackered too !

Thought bats used echo location (sound) not radar so how did they miss something that large

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18 minutes ago, colin said:

Thought bats used echo location (sound) not radar so how did they miss something that large

Dead Bats on the hangar floor. Hit the plane. Must have had a similar result. I know nothing .

 

Attenborough's phone was engaged !

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10 hours ago, bzn20 said:

 

I flew into LAX in  71 going south on BOAC Super VC10 'SGO, coast on the left, from Hawaii  . Three Blackbirds in formation flew below  us, unbelievable,  thought I'd seen things . "Dad 3 SR71s just went under us" " What ?where?" Under us, quite a way away . He missed it! He must have been steaming, they must have been out of Beale. I didn't know anything about Beale back then, never heard of it! Another of those glad I was there moments.

Most likely they were from Palmdale.  There was a Det at Palmdale, with I think 955 (the one with the Skunk on the tail) being stationed there.  Palmdale is still in L.A. county and a lot closer to LAX than Beale is.  But, you never know.....

Later,

Dave

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12 hours ago, Graham Boak said:

Bats do use sound.  Did you actually see these dead bats or is it just another one of these "friend of a friend" stories?

 

In the Skunk works book Graham. I'll have a read of that bit later. The Stealth gives weak returns so the Bats Sonar probably gets a weak return too.

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I don't understand why, as they are completely different physics.  Bats use sound which means pressure waves, stealth/radar uses electromagnetic waves, and then only in specific bands.  After all, light is electromagnetic radiation but you can still see an SR-71.

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1 hour ago, Graham Boak said:

I don't understand why, as they are completely different physics.  Bats use sound which means pressure waves, stealth/radar uses electromagnetic waves, and then only in specific bands.  After all, light is electromagnetic radiation but you can still see an SR-71.

 

I don't know but when I dig the book out all will be explained. Polaroid Cameras  can't see them properly either. BTW Skunk works people didn't understand at first. You are not alone.

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Can't help with the pictures of the pink markings, but I can understand the USAF stubborness on having insignia painted: in those days a military aircraft was supposed to have national insignia of some kind, at least in peacetime. That the same USAF may have "forgotten" to paint insignia on certain aircrafts to pass them as commercial types is another story, but a Blackbird with no national insignia would have not looked good

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18 hours ago, Giorgio N said:

a Blackbird with no national insignia would have not looked good

Actually the CIA flew the A-12 (predecessor of the YF-12 and SR-71) with no markings at all.  Sometime in the early 80s they removed all markings except for the serial number and stenciling (all in flat insignia red) for the primary mission aircraft.  Although the B model could theoretically fly an operational mission as opposed to training missions, they only flew training missions and still had the full color markings.

Later,

Dave

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20 hours ago, Graham Boak said:

I don't understand why, as they are completely different physics.  Bats use sound which means pressure waves, stealth/radar uses electromagnetic waves, and then only in specific bands.  After all, light is electromagnetic radiation but you can still see an SR-71.

Sound waves reflect the same way electromagnetic waves do, and the F-117 was designed to reflect incoming waves away from the source. It stands to reason that echoes wouldn't behave the same way as from a perpendicular surface.

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2 hours ago, e8n2 said:

Actually the CIA flew the A-12 (predecessor of the YF-12 and SR-71) with no markings at all.  Sometime in the early 80s they removed all markings except for the serial number and stenciling (all in flat insignia red) for the primary mission aircraft.  Although the B model could theoretically fly an operational mission as opposed to training missions, they only flew training missions and still had the full color markings.

Later,

Dave

 

Yes, the CIA flew the A-12 with no marking and the same CIA has flown (and probably still operates) a number of aircrafts under totally fictituous commercial airline names and with the most diverse, generally false, markings... however the CIA is not part of the military, their A-12 fleet didn't even exist officially and sure they didn't show the aircrafts around. The SR-71 on the other hand was not a "black" project, it was an aircraft officially used by the US military and had to comply with other requirements.

Things were likely different during operations and I've read and heard of a number of types that operated with a coat of paint on the markings in certain missions. I'm aware that at a certain point the national markings disappeared from the Blackbirds, this came at a time when the USAF changed their mind on these things. Not only the USAF actually...

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Sound reflection: If this was the key matter then bats would fly equally into any aircraft with curved and angled surfaces.  Which is to say, most of them.  However, I'm not so sure that sound does reflect in the same way as EM radiation.   Even if it did, the SR71 stealth comes less from reflecting surfaces than from RAM (radar absorbing material) inside the structure.  The external shape is largely dictated by the needs of sustained supersonic flight - unlike the faceted F-117.

 

Were it true, it wouldn't have happened just once.  Wherever the aircraft stayed it would leave a pile of dead bats.  Mind you, doesn't the cleanliness requirement of stealth rather preclude having bats flying around the hangar anyway...

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6 hours ago, Jessica said:

Sound waves reflect the same way electromagnetic waves do, and the F-117 was designed to reflect incoming waves away from the source. It stands to reason that echoes wouldn't behave the same way as from a perpendicular surface.

 

Thank you Jessica, glad you popped in with that. Ben Rich told the story, head of the Skunk works and not a mate down the pub.

On ‎11‎/‎12‎/‎2016 at 11:54 AM, Hook said:

The Dead Bats Thingy is actually addressed in the F-117A FAQ

 

Cheers,

 

Andre 

 

That's 2 stories now. Funny depending on the order you read them in.. The first one is always Gospel and the second one is from head of Skunk works.

 

I must  have worked in a 100 hangars...........Every one of them had a squadron of  flapping bird shaped things in the rafters. Try keeping them out. Bats are a bit different but not impossible obviously .

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Hate to pee on bonfires but sound isn't on the em spectrum ....basically it needs to travel through something  so where you can use radio in space 'nobody can hear you scream' .....its a vacuum

But and i will research this if the frequency is disturbed or swamped then they will be disabled so to speak.

So big metal thing will reflect sound waves but if the bats 'sensors'are jammed ...splat.

I will get back to you this is great....more science please.

As for the skunk works man ....im absolutely sure he is correct just dumbed the concept down as others on this thread have infered😃

 

Edited by junglierating
bad spells 😕
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On 12/12/2016 at 8:57 AM, Graham Boak said:

Sound reflection: If this was the key matter then bats would fly equally into any aircraft with curved and angled surfaces.  Which is to say, most of them.

 

I would disagree with this because it ignores the fact that the F-117 is *specifically* designed to reflect EM in given ways, and the faceted design used would reflect sound away from its source just as well.

 

The issue isn't simply curves and angled surfaces, its curves and angled surfaces designed in a specific way - you cant just daub EM absorbing paint on a normal airliners fuselage and expect a significant reduction in radar return simply because its curved, because it doesn't work like that, the curves and angles have to be designed to direct the return away from the source.

 

So it would not surprise me at all if any creature using echo location would have difficulty around the F-117...

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Ok so it gets interesting some cameras use echolocation to focus and I had a think about this....when testing radar or doppler radar in hangars one uses or should use a ram screen....radar absorbant material RAM so i can summise that the aircraft has a RAM skin...which also has the property of interfering with sound echo returns....still looking coz thats not scientific

 

 

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